Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Salomons, Julian Emanuel

SALOMONS, Sir JULIAN EMANUEL (1835–1909), Australian lawyer and politician, born at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 4 Nov. 1835, was only son of Emanuel Solomons, a Jewish merchant of that city. Emigrating to Australia in youth, he was at first employed in a book-selling establishment in Sydney, and was for some time secretary of the Great Synagogue there. The Jewish community of Sydney interested themselves in him and he returned with their aid to England to be trained for a barrister. He entered at Gray's Inn on 14 Oct. 1858, and was called to the bar on 26 Jan. 1861. He then returned to New South Wales, and after admission to the bar of the colony in the same year, practised with success before the supreme court and rose quickly in his profession, being counsel for the crown in many important cases. A brilliant lawyer and an analytical reasoner rather than an eloquent advocate, he showed to advantage in examination and cross-examination and was witty and prompt in repartee. His prosecution in 1866 of Louis John Bertrand, a dentist, for the murder of a bank clerk named Henry Kinder — a trial which caused vast excitement — laid the foundation of his reputation. But he chiefly devoted himself to civil business.

Salomons was nominated a member of the legislative council of New South Wales on 5 Aug. 1869, and resigned on 15 Feb. 1871. He was reappointed on 7 March 1887, and took a prominent part in the debates of the chamber till 21 Feb. 1899, when he again resigned. From 18 Dec. 1869 to 15 Dec. 1870 he was solicitor-general in the Robertson ministry which merged into that of (Sir) Charles Cowper, and was representative of the government in the upper house with a seat in the cabinet from 11 Aug. to 5 Dec. 1870. From 7 March 1887 to 16 Jan. 1889 he was vice-president of the executive council and representative of (Sir) Henry Parkes's ministry in the legislative council and held the like office in (Sir) George Dibbs's ministry from 23 Oct. 1891 to 26 Jan. 1893.

On 16 Aug. 1881 he was appointed a royal commissioner to inquire into the Milburn Creek Copper Mining Company scandal. In 1886 he was nominated chief justice on the death of Sir James Martin; but owing to the hostile attitude of some members of the supreme court bench he gave up the office without being sworn in. He took a prominent part in the federation campaign, but opposed the commonwealth enabling bill. He acted as agent-general for the colony in London from 25 March 1899 to 13 May 1900, and on his return to Australia he retired from public and professional life, but was appointed in 1903 standing counsel to the commonwealth government in New South Wales. He died at his residence at Woollahra on 6 April 1909, and was buried in the Hebrew portion of the Rookwood general cemetery.

On 13 July 1891 Salomons was knighted by patent. He was a Q.C. of New South Wales, and from 1899 till death a bencher of Gray's Inn. He was a trustee of the Sydney National Art Gallery and the National Park of New South Wales.

Salomons married on 17 Dec. 1862 Louisa, fourth daughter of Maurice Salomons of Lower Edmonton, Middlesex; she survived him with two daughters. A half-length oil portrait by Mr. Percy Bigland belongs to his daughter, Mrs. J. T. Wilson, in Sydney.

[The Times, Sydney Morning Herald, and Sydney Mail, 7 April 1909; Sydney Daily Telegraph, 7 and 9 April 1909; Johns's Notable Australians, 1908; Year Book of Australia, 1898–1903; Mennell's Dict. of Australas. Biogr. 1892; Foster, Men at the Bar; Colonial Office Records.]

C. A.